Timor Domini – What Fear Is Not

Timor Domini = Fear of the Lord in Latin

PART THREE OF SIX

The first mention of fear in the Bible is in Genesis 3, when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden. The Bible says, “The eyes of both of them were opened and they knew they were naked.” They tried to deceive God, a common response to sin. They made coverings to hide their nakedness and when they heard God, they tried to hide. God called out, “Where are you?” Adam finally appeared and (paraphrased) said, “I heard you but I was afraid.”

When we have a proper fear of the Lord, here are a few things fear is not:

1. We do not have to fear meeting God in our sins like Adam. When God looks at us, He does not see a filthy sinner any longer, He sees His son for we are covered in the blood of the Lamb.

2. We do not have to fear death any longer. The Lord Jesus Christ came to earth to die on Calvary and conquered death. To the believer, there is no reason to fear death for it has been defeated.

3. We don’t have to fear the end times. The book of Revelation can be terrifying to read. But with a proper fear of the Lord, we can read Revelation with confidence that we will not have to endure the wrath prophesied about. However, we still need to be sensitive to those around us who do not fear the Lord, sharing our faith often.

4. I mentioned yesterday that fear of the Lord is a constructive fear, it is not a destructive fear. It is destructive to fear those who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul. A destructive fear can keep us from doing the Lord’s will in our lives.

Freedom is found in not having to fear death or the impending wrath of God. This freedom can only be found in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Just for today, meditate on this truth.

Tune in tomorrow for Part Four….

Easter Sunday

Several years ago, I helped put the story below together for Under Over Fellowship’s Good Friday service. We did a four part reading of the story of Easter from Peter’s perspective. I would like to share it with you. I posted a portion of the story Thursday (see Maundy Thursday), Friday (Good Friday), yesterday (The Dark Before the Dawn), and today, Easter Sunday.

PART FOUR OF FOUR

Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ. May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

This is an account of Easter, the day Jesus was raised from the dead.

When the women returned from the tomb and spoke of what they saw, I jumped. I was running. I had to know and to see that Christ had risen from the dead. If He was, maybe, just maybe, I could be renewed. Maybe Jesus would forgive me. I had to be the first to get to the tomb, to see, to touch, to realize, to be healed.

The women delivered Jesus’ message to us, the disciples. We were to go to Galilee and wait form him there. So we went.

Jesus wasn’t there to meet us when we arrived. We had to wait, and wait. I got so tired of waiting that I wondered if Jesus would ever come back to find me. At that moment, it didn’t seem like He would. So I told the others, “I’m going out to fish.” I had to return to what I knew and trusted. My failures loomed over me. My denial of Jesus plagued me. I just couldn’t shake the thought of what I did.

I still nursed my terrible shame. So I returned to the familiar, to forget the past, and to seek out a living doing what I was comfortable with. The first night back on the water, I caught nothing.

I had failed as a disciple. Now I was failing at fishing. How could I go on living like this? How could I carry on?

Suddenly a voice called out from the shore. I looked up, startled. The voice called out, “Friends, have you caught any fish? Throw your net on the other side and you will find some.”

I did what he said. I picked up the nets and tossed them on the other side, and what a catch! So much that the net was too heavy to haul in.

That is when I heard John proclaim, “It’s the Lord!”

That’s all I needed to hear. I jumped in the water and swam to the shore as fast as I could. But when I got there I couldn’t even speak. I was unable to talk, to even approach the one I ran away from, the one I denied. The one I crucified.

I needed Jesus to graciously reach out to me. I knew I couldn’t take being rebuked. I did not know what I needed at the time, but now I know I needed so much for Jesus to rehabilitate me, to forgive me, to make me new again.

When we finished eating, Jesus said to me, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” I said, “you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

I answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

The third time he said to me, “Simon son of John, do you love me?

I was hurt because Jesus asked me for the third time, “Do you love me?” I replied, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you to where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which I would glorify God. Then He said to me, “Follow me!”

On that day, Jesus assured me that I could still be used by God. Even after all I had done, I still had the freedom to love God and serve Him. There was no condemnation in my failures. There was grace and forgiveness because of Easter. There was grace and forgiveness because of the Gospel. There was grace and forgiveness because of the cross. There was grace and forgiveness because of Jesus! God still had a calling on my life. Jesus still wanted me to fulfill my calling to catch men and not just fish. It was Jesus’ death and resurrection that provided the power for my failure to be forgotten and forgiven. I could move forward in power! And so can you.

Let me ask you right now, have you had an encounter with the risen Savior? You know there were times that my failures would come to mind. The devil would just defeat me and load me up with guilt. I would take that straight to Jesus and he would soothingly say, “Peter, it’s in the past. You are already forgiven.”

Maybe there are some things in your life, in your heart, and in your mind that keep coming up too. Jesus tells you too, “It’s in the past.” Easter represents a new beginning; a fresh start! Learn from me….you see how it changed my life. Maybe you are in a Saturday kind of place, between a hard time and a promise you only half-believe. I was there once too.

But no matter how bleak and dark Saturday gets, Sunday is coming.

When Jesus rose from the grave, I received a fresh start and you can too. If you do not know the Lord Jesus and if you have never been delivered, I pray that you put your faith and trust in Him right now and you too can be saved. If you are saved but have taken your eyes off of Him, this moment can be a new beginning and fresh start. It’s not too late to surrender your life, no matter what you have done or what guilt you feel. Jesus loves you! How do I know? Because I was there!

I beg of you friends, learn from me! It was Jesus’ death and resurrection that provided the power to allow my failure to be forgotten and forgiven. That Easter Sunday, Jesus took special care to rehabilitate me and to assure me that I was forgiven. And He wants to do the same for you.

What are you sleeping on? Are you denying Jesus with the way you are living your life? Have you taken your eyes off of Jesus, even for a moment? Learn from me! Take the power Jesus gave me and is offering you to become a Rock in your faith; to become the man or woman he intends you to be. And move towards one day hearing, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

May you grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever! Amen.

Let us celebrate our Risen Savior.

The Dark Before the Dawn (Saturday)

Several years ago, I helped put the story below together for Under Over Fellowship’s Good Friday service. We did a four part reading of the story of Easter from Peter’s perspective. I would like to share it with you. I posted a portion of the story Thursday (see Maundy Thursday), yesterday (Good Friday), today, and will tomorrow.

PART THREE OF FOUR

Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ. May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

This is an account of Saturday, the day between the death and Resurrection of Jesus.

There were happy days, long ago, when my brother and I would put out into the Sea of Galilee, visiting one of our regular sweet spots just off the shore of Capernaum. The weight of the net, as we hauled it back to the boat, would be almost too much to bear.

We’d throw everything we had into the ropes, straining, bending our back to it. Sweat would pour off us, spill into our eyes till we couldn’t see, leaving the rope slippery in our hands.

What pleasant pain we felt in our arms and backs once the catch was in. Our arms would throb, our backs felt as if they would never again straighten, the palms of our hands burned from the tough rope-but soon we’d be back at it, tossing the empty net out over the waves, then hauling its new catch back in.

Ah, those were the days!

How I long for them, those happy days of ignorance. I wonder now if I’ll ever again know such peace. For the last three years I’ve lived with God—–and now I’ve had a hand in killing Him.

Last night, after they buried Jesus, I went out into the city. The streets were so silent and black, and I wrapped the blackness about me and tried to forget what I had done. Even then I was afraid-I was so afraid someone would see me and identify me with Him. Maybe the same fate would await me? I was so ashamed, but I couldn’t stop being afraid for myself. In my mind I remembered what Jesus had said; that there was a reason for his dying. But in my heart I saw only a coward who denied even knowing Him.

He had trusted me, and I thought only of myself.

The street was empty, the twisted street that had been filled with people laughing and mocking and spitting out hatred. It was empty, and I embraced the emptiness like an old friend who understands your pain when no one else can.

Now, for the first time since the day Jesus had called me, I could no longer feel Him beside me. I was alone. So very much alone.

The guard was asleep, and soon I was outside the city. Golgotha was nearby; from the city gate you could already smell the lingering death. I didn’t really want to see it, but something outside of myself had brought me back.

The path was still muddy from the storm. I tripped on the wet stones in the dark. I prayed that a bolt of lightning would strike me down and end my wretched misery.

But soon I was there-and that ugly stand of wood was still there. Try as I might, I couldn’t keep my eyes from traveling up that post, to the crossbeam that was still in place.

God in heaven! My heart was ripped in two by what I saw-the spikes still there, still embedded in the wood and still painted with His blood. I couldn’t look on that cross without seeing the dying body of Jesus. I know. I was there.

I knew the cross was empty-I knew He was no longer there, but He was! He was.

My eyes filled with horror as I realized my responsibility in the death of Jesus.

Peter. The Rock. It seems like such a joke now. Why did my Lord give me such a nickname? I put Him there. My cowardice put Him there.

I wept with shame.

Then it hit me…..I worked through my jumbled, tortured thoughts…..my heart was telling me that I alone was responsible for His death, but that would mean Jesus died only for me. And that’s not what He said. He said, “Even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

No, we all put Him there. The soldiers drove the spikes, but we all held Him down so they could. And we all were pulling on that rope that lifted Him into place. We all left Him to die alone-stripped of His friend, stripped of His dignity.

Jesus died for all of us-not just me. We’re all guilty of the sins for which He died.

It was an ugly way to die, but then,

He died for ugly things, didn’t He. There’s no pleasant way to die for the sins of all humanity.

Most of life for many of us is like this Saturday, living in a place between His death and resurrection. We are in a terrible position, but we have a promise from God that we only half believe. It’s after the doctor tells us we have cancer, but before we are cured or find new depth of faith to cope with it. It’s after the relationship breaks up, but before God heals the grief. It’s after we have been laid off, but before God uses our gifts in a new place. Most of life is Saturday. It’s waiting in faith and hanging onto the promise that God is going to come through in spite of how bad things look.

That day was spent in grief and reflection. I could not bear to view the cross any longer, so I went off to be by myself.

I thought back to that day when Jesus fed the five thousand with only five loaves of bread and two fish. Immediately after the meal, Jesus made us get into the boat and go ahead to the other side. He went by Himself to pray. Later that night, Jesus walked on the water towards the boat. One of us, I can’t remember who, yelled, “It’s a ghost!” Jesus immediately told us, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

“Lord, if it’s you,” I said, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then I got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when I saw the wind, I became very afraid and I began to sink. I cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught me. “You of little faith,” He said, “why did you doubt?” I know. It happened to me.

I beg of you now friends, learn from me! Do you want to know why I slept when Jesus asked me to pray? Do you want to know why I denied Him? The same reason I began to sink that day in the sea. I took my eyes off Him for one moment and I began to sink. So I ask you now brothers and sisters, have you taken your eyes off Jesus? Learn from me! Take heed in what I say! You can sink like I did if you take your eyes off the Lord even for a moment. Taking your eyes off Him will take you away from being the Rock He wants you to be. Do not avert your eyes even for a moment! Keep your eyes focused on the Lord each and every day. Learn from me!

Good Friday

Several years ago, I helped put the story below together for Under Over Fellowship’s Good Friday service. We did a four part reading of the story of Easter from Peter’s perspective. I would like to share it with you. I encourage you to take a few minutes to read it in preparation for this weekend and hope it will be a blessing. I posted a portion of the story yesterday (see Maundy Thursday) today, and will tomorrow, and then Sunday.

PART TWO OF FOUR

Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ. May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

This is an account of Good Friday, as it is now called. But at the time, it was a bad Friday, to say the least, for me. It was the day my Lord died.

Last night they took Jesus to the high priest’s house. It looked like there was quite a crowd assembled. All the lights were lit inside and every few moments there was coming and going. I managed to get in to the courtyard and I went and sat, as nonchalantly as I could, with the guards as they warmed themselves around the fire. I tried to be inconspicuous. I just listened to everything. One of the servant girls began to stare at me and came over and she said, “You also were with Jesus, the man from Nazareth.” I looked at her and shook my head and said, “I do not know or understand what you are talking about.” She went away and I breathed again. I walked out to the forecourt to stay out of the way. After a while another servant girl came along and she began to tell the rest standing around that, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” I swore an oath and said, “I do not know the man.” That seemed to shut her up. A few minutes later one of the bystanders came up to me and said, “Certainly you are one of them, for your accent betrays you. You are Galilean.” That did it! I began to curse and I swore an oath that I did not know this man!

As I finished speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked at me. Then I remembered. I remembered what Jesus said; that before the rooster crowed I would deny him three times. I broke. I thought my life was over. Great shuddering heaves seized me and the tears blinded me as I tore out of the courtyard and down the narrow streets. Running. Running to I do not know where. Sobbing. Heaving. Shamed to the core. I could not believe I would let him down. How could I have done that? I denied my Lord. Now in a short time period I had slept when my Lord asked me to do something and now I denied knowing him. I know. I was there.

I don’t remember the dawn. I just know that after a while I realized it was day. I was wandering around in a daze in the lower city. I realized that I didn’t know what was happening. I was so caught up in my own grief that I forgot all about Jesus and what he must be going through. I had to find out.

I started back up towards the High Priest’s house. When I got there someone told me that they had taken him to Pilate, the Roman governor. That did not sound good. Nearing the Governor’s palace I heard all kinds of noise and shouting. The crowd was really worked up. I heard the shouts, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” As I jostled through the crowd I could see Jesus standing beside the governor. He looked awful. A crown of thorns on his head. Blood on his face. Pale like he was in shock. He seemed to sway as he stood there. Pilate raised his hands. The crowd quieted a little. “All right. I give you my decision. Barabbas goes free. This ‘King of the Jews,’ this Jesus, is to be crucified.” The crowd cheered. My heart sank.

It was then I got really angry at God. Why, oh why have you forsaken him? Why? Where are you God? This is supposed to be your Son, the Messiah. Why does he have to die? These thoughts and others swirled around inside my head. I didn’t even notice that the crowd seemed to be moving at first. Then I heard the harsh shouts of the Roman soldiers making a way through the crowds. Pressed up against my neighbors I watched as I saw the wood of a cross come towards me. Then I saw my Lord slumped under its weight not six feet from me. He looked up at me and all my anger for God dissipated. The last time I saw those eyes I had denied him myself. Now those eyes, glazed with pain, were looking into my soul. Why was it him and not me? I still did not understand. I was scared and I, too, was in shock. Everything was happening so fast. My Lord was going to die. Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Were you there? Sometimes it causes me to tremble. I know. I was there.

It was nine o’ clock in the morning when they crucified him. The inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” And with him they crucified two bandits, one on his right and one on his left.

Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself, come down from that cross! In the same way the chief priests, along with the scribes, were also mocking him among themselves, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, so that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also taunted him.

When it was noon, darkness came over the the whole land until three in the afternoon. At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “Listen, he is calling for Elijah.” And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come take him down.” Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last breath.

After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews.

Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb where no one had ever been laid. And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

I beg of you now friends, learn from me! First my master asked me to do something and I slept instead. Now I denied him, denied even knowing him. You don’t know how bad I wish I could change that now. So I ask you now brothers and sisters…..are you denying God? Are you denying Jesus with the way you are living your life. Learn from me!

I have a special challenge for you. If you are denying Jesus with the way you are living your life, even in one little area, I want you to give it to Him right now. What is holding you back? What is keeping your from being called Rock, the man or woman God has intended you to be. Learn from me, let Him call your Rock, a man or woman solid in your faith. One that will one day hear, “Well done my good and faithful servant,” when you meet the Lord face to face. Believe me, when that day comes, you will not want to be called Simon. Learn from me! Right now, give whatever might be holding you back over to God. Nail it to the cross and never take it back.

Maundy Thursday

Several years ago, I helped put the story below together for Under Over Fellowship’s Good Friday service. We did a four part reading of the story of Easter from Peter’s perspective. I would like to share it with you. I encourage you to take a few minutes to read it in preparation for this weekend and hope it will be a blessing. I will post a portion of the story today, tomorrow, Saturday, and then Sunday.

PART ONE OF FOUR

Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ. May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

This is the account of what you call Maundy Thursday, or the night Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with the disciples, including myself.

The events of that last week are still a jumble in my head. Sometimes one thing leaps out at me; sometimes another. Jesus did a lot of teaching that week. In the temple, as we walked to an from the city and when we were back in Bethany at night. He told us about things that did not make sense until afterwards. I guess we were a little slow to hear. It seems no matter how many times Jesus tried to prepare us, we just could not see God’s plan. Until after. But he taught us so much that week that has stayed in our memories.

I remember the first day of Unleavened Bread, the day on which we had to sacrifice the Passover lamb. Jesus sent John and I to prepare the meal. We made ready the upper room where Jesus had said we would find it. We checked every corner to make sure no leaven was present. Then we bought wine and herbs and unleavened bread. Next we went out and purchased a lamb to take to the temple to offer the Passover sacrifice at twilight. Everybody else in Jerusalem was there for the same reason so it took no little time for the lamb to be killed and the blood to be drained, then the body skinned and cleaned and all the fat cut off and burned before the lamb was roasted whole. Passover in Jerusalem was…..noisy. All kinds of startled bleats and strange voices and languages. Everyone was anxious for the feast. The air was hot and smoky with the smells of sacrifices. I was more than ready to go outside into the cool evening air and back to the Upper Room.

Jesus and the others came in shortly after we got back. Everyone was talking at once, telling about their day. We were so distracted and preoccupied by our ambition and establishing our pecking order that no one noticed our feet were still filthy from the street. In the midst of the hubbub, it suddenly got quiet. Jesus had taken off his outer robe and tied a towel around his waist and was pouring water from the pitcher into a basin. He went over to Phillip, knelt down and washed his feet. Phillip sat there with a stunned look. Jesus turned to Andrew and did the same. Around the room he went.

When he got to me, I stopped him and said, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” He looked at me and said, very patiently, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later on you will understand.” I couldn’t believe it. “You will never wash my feet,” I almost shouted. Jesus, in that very calm and commanding way of his just said, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” That was all it took. Then my impetuous side overcame me. There words were out before I could even think. “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus called me back down to earth. “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are all clean, though not one of you.”

I heard those last words as if in a trance while Jesus picked up one foot and then the other and washed away the dust and the grime they had picked up that day. He washed them like a servant. When he was done he explained why he had become our servant. “I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the ones who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.” The King of Heaven kneeling at the feet of his friends, washing their feet. I know. I was there.

When Jesus was finished things settled down and got back to normal. We began to set the food out on the table and take our places. We sang Passover hymns together. We remembered Israel in Egypt and the night the Angel of the Lord passed over the firstborn children of Israel. We rejoiced in God who ‘with his strong hand brought us out of Egypt.’ We recounted the story in answer to the question, “Why is this night different from every other night?”

While we were doing this Jesus became very troubled. His somberness caught our attention. We became quiet and waited. At last he said, “Very truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” Heads shook as we turned to look at each other. What did he mean? Who was he talking about? I motioned to John who was sitting next to Jesus, to get him to ask Jesus who he was speaking of. I saw John ask. I strained to hear. “It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” The hairs on my body stood on end. I had goose bumps. The blood rushed from my head as I saw Jesus pass the piece to Judas. Jesus leaned over and spoke to him and he left. I was stunned. John looked like he had been hit by and escaped bull.

Everyone else started murmuring about Judas going out to do some of Jesus’ bidding. Nobody else seemed to have caught on or heard. I felt disoriented. James must have told a joke. The others beside him were laughing. Everyone but John and Jesus and I resumed eating and talking. I didn’t know what to think about this. Had I imagined it?

I didn’t have a lot of time to muse, though, as at that moment Jesus called for quiet. He picked up one of the round, flat pita breads and he blessed it. Then he broke it, tearing it to pieces and handed it around to us saying, “Take, eat. This is my body, which is broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” Afterwards in the same manner he took the cup in front of him and he gave thanks and said, “This is my blood of the new covenant which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” We all drank from the cup. I heard Jesus saying something about not drinking of the vine again until he drank it anew in the Kingdom of God. It was a very special time. I know. I was there.

Very shortly after supper we headed out across the Kidron Valley to the Garden on the Mount of Olives. We were singing hymns along the way but quietly as the night was getting later. I often wonder if Jesus took strength from the hymns during those last hours in the Garden of Gethsemane. Sometimes I think about him being surrounded by the trees and fruit from which the anointing oil is made during those last precious moments before he was taken like a criminal.

While we were walking along, Jesus told us, “You will all become deserters; for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will become scattered.’ But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” That is when I claimed in my pride and arrogance, “Even though all become deserters, I will not.” Jesus said to me, “Truly I tell you, this day, this very night, before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.” I don’t know why I had to argue with him, what fantasies drove me to think I was so powerful, so courageous on my own, but I heard myself, I still hear myself, say vehemently, “Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.” The rest of them said it with me. We were so sure.

When we arrived at our usual place Jesus indicated that he was going to pray. He said to all of us, “Pray that you may not come into the time of trial. Sit here while I pray.” He motioned to James and John and myself to go on further into the garden with him. He was very upset, very anxious, pacing a little as he spoke. “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here and keep awake.” He went a little further and he threw himself on the ground. I watched him do it as if in slow motion. I heard him ever so faintly but I could just make out, “Father, for you all things are possible. If you are willing, remove this cup from me, yet, not my will but yours be done.”

My emotions had been stretched so much this week and this day that I suddenly felt drowsy and before I knew it I had drifted off to sleep. The next thing I knew Jesus was standing over me saying, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep awake one hour? Keep awake and pray that you may not come to the tome of trial; the spirit indeed is willing Simon, but the flesh is weak!”

I would soon find out how weak! What you might not realize, is Jesus only called me Simon when I needed a rebuke or admonishment. He game me the name Peter or Rock because He needed me to be the man He intended me to be, like a rock, solid in my faith. From the time he first called me Petra, the Lord could gently chide or commend me just by using one name or another. Oh, how I wished He had used Peter that night instead of Simon!

He went away again and prayed as before. I started to pray myself and again nodded my head in sleep. Jesus woke us up. We did not know what to say. I felt ashamed. He went back to praying. We went back to sleeping. At last he came again and said to us, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Enough! The hour is come; the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.”

While Jesus was speaking we could hear the commotion of a crowd coming towards us. There was Judas with a bunch of men carrying clubs and swords and the officers of the temple police and elders. Judas cried out, “Rabbi!” and went up to Jesus and kissed him. The men with the clubs laid hold of Jesus to arrest him. That’s when everything got a little crazy. I drew the sword I had hidden away and sliced off the right ear of the high priest’s slave. Jesus told me to put my sword away. “Am I not to drink the cup that my father has given me?” That’s when they began to bind Jesus with cords and the menace of the crowd grew. All of us began to slip away as quickly as we could. I withdrew far enough for safety and to watch. As they began to move away, I followed to see where they were taking Jesus. This really happened. I know. I was there.

What is the one thing everyone in the world possesses the same of at the beginning of each day? What do the President of the United States, a guy on the street, a billionaire, a doctor, and a pastor all possess in equal amounts? The answer is time. We all have 1440 minutes each day.

I beg of you my friends, learn from me! My Master asked me to do something and I slept instead. I did not make the most of my time with him and my time spent serving and learning from him. You don’t know how bad I wish I could change that now. So I ask you now brothers and sisters……..What is the Lord calling you to do in your life? What might you be sleeping on? Learn from me!

Today

Today

A sin, it might well be, to worry about tomorrow

The same holds true regarding fretting over yesterday

Tomorrow will worry about itself

Although try not to it may

Yesterdays anxiety has already been spent

But today my bank is full and a new day before me

So I will be glad and rejoice in it

And control the one thing in which I hold the key.

By: Phil D. Jones, Jr.

In Matthew 6:34, Jesus tells us, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (ESV).  Before I talk about this verse, we must talk about the “Therefore.”  Like my good friend and favorite preacher Jerry Vineyard likes to say, “We must ask ourselves what the therefore is there for?”

The previous two verses say, “For the Gentiles seek after these things (what shall we eat? what shall we drink? what shall we wear?), and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,and all these things will be added to you.”  We are often concerned first about just living; What will I eat?  What will I drink?What will I wear?  These issues are highlighted even more during this crazy time we are living in dealing with COVID-19.  But Jesus reverses the order: Seek the kingdom of God first; make sure you are rightly related to me, and I will take care of the rest.

When it comes down to it, there is so much out of our control in many circumstances in our life.  I think we all probably have a little “control freak” in us, so this is not easy.  There is one thing we have control over: our actions at this present time.  We do not hold the future, we cannot fret over yesterday, but our bank is full today.  Live in the present right now.  For today, take care in your relationship with the Lord first.